I have had severe cystic acne for over 10 years. When I became pregnant, my skin became clear and beautiful. After I gave birth my acne returned with a vengance. I had 15-20 cysts at any given time. Anyhow, I found a skin care program (murad) which totally cleared up my acne and I was left with scars and many dark red spots (aka pizza-face.)
After much online research, I purchased an Alpha-beta chemical peel on eBay. It is a 10% salicylic acid (beta) and 30% glycolic acid (alpha)peel. I purchased it for $19.99 (free shipping)and it is good for around 8 peels which can be done 2-4 times a month.
The first time I did the peel (which was simple to use) I was amazed at how painful it was. I even emailed the gal I bought it from and said, is this normal? I had a natural birth and I think this is painful. lol. She assured me it was normal.
My skin peeled and flaked off about four days later. I have been hooked ever since.
This peel is fairly mild, and there is not a lot of peeling or "down time". But the accumulated results are fantastic. My skin is healed from all post acne, it is sooo smooth, and my current skin care products are working better and are absorbing more easily into my skin now, instead of "sitting" on top of my skin. My scarring is smoothing out and my red marks are fading fast.
Every time I wash my skin I am continually amazed at how soft it feels. I have done 4 peels now, and am going to continue to use them. I use them about once every 2-4 weeks depending on if I feel a breakout coming or not. After your first peel you know what to expect so the pain is not so bad. It didn't even make me uncomfortable the last time I did it. I want to laugh at myself for overreacting the first time.
If you are new to peeling here are some pointers....
1. DO NOT PICK AT YOUR SKIN. Let it fall off naturally. This includes rubbing, washing or touching your skin in any fashion. Just be very gentle. You will forever regret pulling off skin if it scars. So don't do it!
2. EMU OIL is your friend. It sounds weird, but google it. Its amazing. It will help your skin heal and stay moisturized during your peel after-care. I would never do a peel without it. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-baterial, and will NOT promote acne. I love it. Be sure to get it from a reputable seller. The oil should be white and have NO odor.
3. The Peel will burn, and then be red. The pain will subside. Soon your face will tighten and you may get dark red scabs or tight wrinkly skin for a day or two. Then the dead skin will fall off. This can take 2-4 days. My first time it peeled the most and it was around the 4th day. Now, my skin peels less and in about 2 days. Underneath you may have lighter pink skin. This pink skin is new to the world and will normalize and look like your regular skin tone soon enough (1 day or so). But treat it well. Wear SUNSCREEN. Be gentle with your skin. After about a week you will have the smoothest skin ever.
4. Do NOT exfoliate your skin or use other Alpha/Beta products until all peeling/flaking is complete. Especially do not use grainy topical exfoliators until you are good and ready, 1-2 weeks min. Honestly, I have stopped using my other exfoliating products since I started using the peels. You just won't need them anymore. I never have dry flaky skin. The peel gets rid of all of that.
5. If you are doing this at home, or it is your first time, leave the acid on your face for the shortest time recommended. You will not know how you will react to the peel, so take it easy and get familiar with the peel before you go all out. You can always leave it on longer next time. And remember, it can take many peels to get the results you want. If you don't have problematic skin like me, one peel may be great, but I know that I will continue to use the peels for a while.
So I hope this helps. Good Luck!